Current Weather
The Spy FM

The Coach Who Was Cool To The Cafeteria Dude

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 4, 2011

An unlikely story has emerged from the world of the NFL, which until recently exported only tales of internecine warfare among millionaires. But first: If you’re a football fan — but love to hate the Pittsburgh Steelers — you may want to just click away now. Because what happened recently may diminish your ability to despise the Steel Curtain.

The day before Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton left to become the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, he stopped by the team complex for some final farewells.

One of the people he spoke to was Maurice Matthews, a cafeteria cook who has reportedly worked for the Steelers for some 20 years. Matthews was also a loyal fan, driving himself to many of the team’s road games, writes Darren Urban of Arizona’s Word From The Birds blog.

During Horton’s seven years in Pittsburgh, the two had regularly joked about two things: Matthews’ ability to come out and play some “D” for the Steelers, and his often-made request to borrow Horton’s car, a red 1999 Mercedes SL500. But as they said their goodbyes, Horton started acting like he’d forgotten his wallet. And he asked Matthews to help him out.

Matthews gave Horton the $20 he had in his pocket — and Horton yelled, “Sold for $20!”

Then he gave Matthews the keys to his car.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tells the story of how Matthews reacted:

“I’m like, ‘Stop playing with me Ray; don’t play with me,’ ” Matthews said. “The other [workers] were looking at me, their jaws dropped.

“Ray said, ‘Hey, you always liked the car, you’re a good dude, I know you’ll take care of it. It’s yours.”

The following day, Horton had Matthews drive him to the airport in the Mercedes convertible, which had 64,000 miles on it. When Horton picked him up, he handed Matthews the title and proper paperwork to transfer ownership of the car.

“I’m still in shock,” Matthews said. “I don’t think it has hit me yet. I still pinch myself. I look out the window when I bring it to work and I just go, ‘Man, that’s mine.’”

As free agents and coaches often remind us, most of pro football is “just business.” But that’s not what Horton said to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after he sold his car at a steep discount, according to Word From The Birds.

“I just told Mike, ‘It’s just taking care of guys who took care of you,’” Horton said.

The sentiment behind Horton’s act of generosity might ring a bell with NPR listeners who heard a 2005 story called Be Cool To The Pizza Dude — an idea that, as Sarah Adams explained back then, is based on the ideas of honor and equality.

In that piece, Adams wrote, “I am the equal to all I meet because of the kindness in my heart. And it all starts here — with the pizza delivery dude.”

In a way, Horton’s gift can be seen as an example of that simple sentiment, writ large. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center